DVN 3: Dataverse back in 2013

Please note: This content was originally hosted at http://people.iq.harvard.edu/~pdurbin but that site has gone dark and I wanted to preserve what I wrote in the timeframe between December 2012 and May 2013. I had just begun working as a developer for Dataverse and this was my write up of what Dataverse was back then. I was getting oriented with the features offered, the code, the community, and the ecosystem. Throughout you’ll see references to “DVN” because that’s what we called the Dataverse software back then. It stood for “Dataverse Network” and we called it “DVN 3.” The software has since been rewritten and rebranded as just “Dataverse”.

It’s surprising how many of the links in the post no longer work. We managed to get the domain “dataverse.org” (replacing “thedata.org”) and we did a rewrite, which included some rebranding. Here are updated links:

Ok, on to the old post, last updated in 2013:

Philip Durbin, Software Developer

Philip Durbin
  • open source
  • data
  • collaboration
  • community

I work on The Dataverse Network Project ( http://thedata.org ), an open source web application for sharing, citing, analyzing, and preserving research data.


If you have research data… you can host it for FREE at http://thedata.harvard.edu 🙂


A “dataverse” is simply a container, a place to upload your data: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/dataverse


viz example

If you have time series data (on recession trends for example) you have your DVN visualize it (as above) by following http://guides.thedata.org/book/data-visualization

DVN can provide descriptive statistics of your data. Here’s the age variable from a census of Utah in 1880:


R example


On tabular and network data, you can perform statistical analysis by following http://guides.thedata.org/book/subset-and-analysis

http://dvn-demo.iq.harvard.edu is a great place to test out the DVN software. Go ahead and upload some data and play around. 🙂


The Dataverse Network (DVN) software is open source. The code is hosted at https://github.com/iqss/dvn and bugs are tracked at http://redmine.hmdc.harvard.edu/projects/dvn

Your institution is welcome to download and set up their own Dataverse Network installation on their own server. If you need help installing your DVN, please email us at support@thedata.org

If you don’t have a server handy, you can try installing a DVN on a virtual machine on your laptop with https://github.com/pdurbin/dvn-vagrant or https://github.com/dvn/dvn-install-demo . Please don’t use this in production. 🙂

If you’d like to contribute code, please see http://devguide.thedata.org

If you’d like to work on bugs that have been assigned to me, please be my guest. 🙂

I tend to work on the business logic:

JSF diagram

(Image from http://blog.xebia.fr/2009/06/03/seam-repenser-larchitecture-des-applications-web/ )

twitter-logo gplus-64

If you’d like to get involved with the DVN community, you can check out our tweets at http://twitter.com/thedataorg or join the mailing list at http://groups.google.com/group/dataverse-community

I started a Google+ page for DVN and I sometimes chat with people in #dvn on Freenode: http://irclog.iq.harvard.edu/dvn


The Dataverse Network is one of many products developed by The Institute for Quantitative Social Science (IQSS) at Harvard University: http://www.iq.harvard.edu/products

The source for many IQSS projects can be found under https://github.com/iqss but see http://iqss.github.com/github-at-iqss for a more complete list.


Both DVN installations at Harvard (the IQSS Dataverse Network and the Harvard-Smithsonian Astronomy Dataverse Network) are ably hosted by Harvard University Information Technology (HUIT) Library Technology Services (LTS): http://library.harvard.edu/project-update-dataverse

From time to time I check http://bugz.hul.harvard.edu/buglist.cgi?product=Dataverse for anything LTS might need from me.

Earth from http://www.flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey/5679642883/

http://thedata.org lists Dataverse Networks around the world.


This web page is written in Markdown and rendered into HTML with Jekyll. The source can be found at https://git.huit.harvard.edu/pdurbin/pdurbiniq


My personal website is http://greptilian.com

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Hello world!

Thanks for visiting! Please see the about page for more about me as well as my personal website at greptilian.com. As of this writing I work at IQSS on Dataverse. I like it there. 🙂

This being the first post and all, I guess I can get a little meta. I created a blog here at blogs.harvard.edu because of the retirement of the hosting I was using previously. Hosting at scholar.harvard.edu was suggested to me but I was turned off by the description on the homepage that read, “OpenScholar@Harvard is a free web site building tool available to faculty, graduate students and visiting scholars at Harvard.” I’m a staff member and I while I appreciate research, scholarship, and science generally, I don’t consider myself a scholar. I don’t really consider myself much of a blogger either but when I googled for “Harvard blogs” I was happy to discover that I had missed the news that blogs.law.harvard.edu had dropped “law” from the URL, becoming this site. I think it’s fantastic that Harvard is offering a blogging platform for anyone with a harvard.edu address. Thanks!

Technically, I still have an old blog at people.fas.harvard.edu/~pdurbin/blog but I haven’t updated it since I switched to my current job in late 2012. Also, there’s a blog for my current project at dataverse.org/blog but I’m not the one who writes those posts. I’m sure I’d be welcome to be a guest blogger there but I like having my own space to have my own voice. For example, I’m considering giving a talk at the Harvard IT Summit some day but I thought that perhaps I would start with a blog post to gauge interest in various topics and reach a wider audience.

Oh, I don’t plan to enable comments on this blog. If you spot a typo or otherwise want to reach me, my contact information is on my about page.

Phew. I think that’s enough meta for now. 🙂

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